"A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine do down."
There are countless benefits to honey, especially in its raw state. Honey normally consists of sugar (70-80% content) and also wax, pollen, coloring and aromatic constituents. Honey is emollient, demulcent nutritive, and mildly laxative (Green, page 244). It helps relieve painful, dry throats and it also helps the body’s tissues assimilate nutritive components. Also, who doesn’t like the taste of honey?! It’s the more nutritious and health-promoting form of white sugar!
Honey is an immune system booster. It has antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties that can help improve the digestive system, which ultimately helps you stay healthy.
Honey is an energy booster. It’s a great natural source of carbohydrates, which provide strength and energy within our systems. Honey has glucose that has been found to keep levels of blood sugar fairly constant (in comparison to other types of sugars).
Honey has anti- tumor and carcinogen-preventing properties.
Why infuse honey?
Honey is a great preservative. It also absorbs the medicinal constituents of herbs, including their bioflavonoids. So not only are you absorbing the multitude of benefits from the peculiar fluid, yet you can readily absorb the healing properties of the herbs you infuse. Unlike syrups (which undergo a decoction and use water within its preparation), honey has a longer shelf life and more stability.
How do you infuse honey?
Depending on what you are trying to infuse…leafs, flowers, roots, etc… there is a simple standard honey infusion and there is an herb specific infusion.
Here’s the Generic, Standard Honey Infusion:
1. Harvest herb.
2. Cut herb (making many windows and doors for the honey to penetrate through) into jar.
3. Fill jar ¾ of the way full with fresh herb. **If you are working with berries or herbs in the Rose family, fill jar ½ fill because the sugar tends to ferment and expand!
4. Cover the herb and fill the entire jar with honey.
5. Let infuse for 4 weeks in dark, warm area of home. **Unless working with berries or cottonwood buds, you might have to keep in freezer to slow expansion.
6. Set jar by warm place in home, to easily strain herb material out. Or keep herbal material in and eat it with your honey.
What about Root Infused Honey?
Roots sometimes need a more heat for the honey to penetrate and absorb the nutrients and medicinal constituents. Here’s Michael Moore’s recipe for Balsam Root, Lomatium, Osha, or Angelica Root Honey:
Freshly-Dug-Spring-Root Herbal Honey:
1. Add 1 part of finely chopped roots by volume to 4 parts by volume of honey to a pot.
2. Heat to a slight boil (I let mine simmer), maintaining low heat for an hour or two.
3. Allow to cool overnight.
4. The following morning, warm over some heat until liquefied and pour through a strainer OR keep roots in honey and chew on them as lozenges when sick.
5. Pour honey into a jar and store at room temperature.
6. Take a teaspoon as needed.
**This honey combined any of the roots above (also including elecampane) is an amazing expectorant and disinfectant.
“THANK YOU LITTLE FURRY ONES FOR THE SWEET NECTAR OF YOUR LIVES.”
The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook; A Home Manual, James Green
Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West, Michael Moore
Cedar Mountain Herb School, Suzanne Jordan